WISCASSET — When Jonathon Emerson stood outside Wiscasset Speedway’s technical inspection area Saturday night, he thought about a few of the missed opportunities he’d had during the eighth annual Amsoil Dominator Strictly Shootout. He’d approached restarts cautiously, and he didn’t want to rough up race leader Jason Gammon in order to challenge for victory.

“I could drive it in a car length deeper than anyone on restarts, and maybe I could have cleared him,” the Sabattus driver said, running through a bunch of late-race scenarios in his head. “But it’s a whole bunch of maybes.”

He needed not worry about any of them.

Gammon, of Hollis, was found to have an illegal carburetor in his car. Though Emerson believed he had finished second in the event for the third time, he was declared the winner of the 50-lap event and secured a $1,000 payday with the first Strictly Shootout victory of his career.

Kyle Hewins, who took a $300 bonus for giving up the pole position to start last in the 27-car field, finished second. Garrett Lamb, Nate Leavitt and Jonathon’s father, Zach Emerson, completed the top five.

Gammon was penalized five positions in the running order and was credited with a sixth-place finish.

After claiming what was his first Street Stock win in more than two years on the track, Gammon credited some positive fortune for the victory.

“A lot of good luck, I guess,” Gammon said.

Ironically, Emerson had pulled off a pass of Gammon for the lead on lap 37. But when the caution flew prior to the completion of the lap, Gammon was put back into the top spot.

Standard rules at Wiscasset Speedway dictate that scoring for position reverts back to the last completed lap prior to a caution flag.

Emerson was as quick as any car on the track over the closing circuits, but the ground he lost on restarts became too much to make up.

“I didn’t need that caution.,” Emerson said. “The issue was that last week I jumped the restart and I was trying to avoid that. I felt like if I jumped the restart, I was done. He just had a little more motor than I did. “

Gammon appeared to have dodged a bullet, but his work was hardly finished.

He lost the lead to Lewis Anderson on lap 41, when Anderson muscled his way under Gammon entering the track’s first turn. Gammon returned the favor half a lap later, crossing over to get back by Anderson on the bottom side of turn three.

“He drove into me,” Gammon said. “I figured if he wanted to shuffle me out, I was going back by.  That’s how it goes.”

Hewins, of Leeds, went from dead last to the top 10 in fewer than 15 laps, and over the second half of the race he inched closer and closer to the front. By the race’s final restart with seven laps remaining, he was fourth — and then quickly dispatched of third-place Brad Erskine to contend for the win.

He hadn’t initially even wanted to take the bonus to start at the rear of the field.

“I told myself it was a stupid idea when I did it, but I knew everybody wanted me to do it,” said Hewins, a two-time Shootout winner who has wins at Beech Ridge and Oxford Plains Speedway this season. “I told myself if I could get a trophy, no matter what spot it was, it would be a good day. I figured the fans would like it.

“I thought I had the best car, to be honest with you. I thought I could win it, but in order to do it I was going to have to move (Gammon), and I didn’t want to do that. That looks bad. I just hoped Jonathon and him would get into it a little bit and I could take advantage of the three-wide on the bottom.”

Gammon had earned what would have been the No. 1 starting spot by winning his heat race earlier in the evening, but he was forced to line up 10th on the gird after a redraw of the top 18 qualifiers. He simply picked his way to the front, avoiding some of the carnage behind him, to finally take the lead on lap 27 — driving under both Brad Erskine and Bernie Dinsmore, after the two leaders made contact leading to Dinsmore’s cut right front tire.

“The car has been junk all year, but it’s finally going good,” Gammon said. “(Winning) was the goal. … I figured there was enough time to get to the front and the car was going well, and I thought we could get through it pretty good.”


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